Hello Yoopers!! It has been a little while since I have written a blurb for the website. This summer has been very busy and seems to be flying by! Now that some of my chores are getting caught up I hope to write on a more regular basis.
I you live in or even visited the Upper Peninsula, it is a pretty sure bet that you have seen a few huge maples, oaks or white pines. These trees can have stories to tell and be used as a great teaching lesson for small Yooper children.
Last week I came across a large white pine that had fallen down during a wind storm last month. The homeowner had the tree cut up and large section of the trunk was left over. My initial assumption was that this tree must have been at least 100 years old. I decided to have some fun just like when I was a kid and diligently counted the tree rings. To my amazement the tree was only 62 years old.
The official name for this ring counting is dendrochronology. These rings can give the counter a great deal of information. Each growing year the tree adds one ring. Size of a tree does not always equal age. The large white pine that I looked at was not as old as I thought. I have also seen photographic evidence of trees not being as old as I surmised. There have been trees near houses that I would guess to be truly ancient, however pictures of these same houses taken in the early 1900’s have no evidence of even a sapling in the same area. Some tree species grow faster than others and the tree rings would prove this point. Counting backwards from the rings on the outside you can also tell what the climate was for that particular year. Thick rings indicate warm and wet weather, and thin rings indicate cold and dry weather.
Most of the trees that we find in the UP are really not that old. Old photos taken during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s show a rather barren landscape. The industrial appetite of the greater United States was hungry for prime lumber from places like the Upper Peninsula. It is hard to believe but we probably have more forest in 2012 than we did in 1920. There are however some genuine old trees that predate the logging period with a great amount of rings left on our great peninsula. A true virgin plot of forest is a magnificent sight. I hope you have the chance to see a stand someday. In the meantime search out old logs and have fun counting. Enjoy the rest of your July!!
Till the next time,